When I first wrote about the Wisdom of the Language almost a decade ago, I realized that many people would probably think the idea was odd, and perhaps even revolutionary. I think perhaps I was also too much involved with rather “technical” details — and therefore many people didn’t seem to “get it” right off the bat. It’s really a very simple idea: A site named “X” is about “X”.
I named the concept the Wisdom of the Language in order to contrast it with the Wisdom of the Crowds, a book that was very popular at the time (and which is sort of the basis for algorithmic search methods like those employed by Google). As I wrote back then, crowds are a sign of significance (and perhaps also something like credibility), but they are not a measure of relevance.
Although this technology is quite simple and straightforward, language is also a very complex phenomenon. People who are not well-versed in how language works may not see the forest for the trees — and therefore they may easily get lost. This is especially the case for people who do not have much experience in comparing and evaluating a plethora of media and information sources. Many people have rather limited media literacy skills, and really do need the guidance of a trained information specialist (which had for over a century been the role of professional librarians).
Starting about a decade ago, people began to think they no longer needed trained professionals to help and guide them. Now they felt ready, willing and able to discover facts by themselves — or rather with the help of an algorithm that would spit out objective “results”. Some people still to this day think the results this program returns are objective facts. They naively believe Google much like earlier generations blindly followed a Pope or presented their questions to some oracle or other magical power. They still do not realize that the primary purpose of Google is for the company to maximize its profits.
Now as most people use Google to type in the name of the website they want to visit (for example: Amazon), there is a common and also a reasonable misconception that the name of a site can be used as a way to “optimize” it for search engines (such that when someone types in “hotels” or “weather”, the top results in a search engine might very well be a site like hotels.com or weather.com).
While that may be true, that is actually not the main reason why the Wisdom of the Language works better than the Wisdom of the Crowds. Using the Wisdom of the Language, a brand-name website like Google will actually ultimately become superfluous. As people become aware of the fact that weather.com has reliable information about weather, and that hotels.com has reliable information about hotels, they will no longer need to search for “weather” or “hotels” at the Google website. Instead, they can skip that detour and go directly to the information source.
Most people still do not have the media literacy skills to be able to reliably evaluate the quality of information different websites provide — but it is getting better, slowly but surely (and many Wisdom of the Language websites are helping to pave the way).
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Tagged brand, brand name, brand names, branding, brands, optimization, search, search engine, search engines, seo, website, websites, Wisdom of the Language
Retard media exploit the their audience’s lack of media literacy. For example, people will pay Google money in order to get their website listed in the search engine (or they will pay for “search engine optimization” [SEO] services). Either way: they are paying money because they lack the literacy skills required to create websites, apps and other business communications. They are simply not literate enough to communicate directly with their target audience(s). Whether they pay Google or Facebook, the local newspaper, a PR (public relations), marketing or advertising agency — regardless of which intermediary they pay: the payment (sometimes such “services” are actually referred to as “paid media”) is a clear signal they they are so illiterate that they are basically unable to communicate themselves.
By far, the vast majority of such business communications are “handled” by Google. Google’s profit is directly proportional to the degree of online businesses’ illiteracy. Very far behind this vast media monopoly are a bunch of other media companies that also cater to such illiterate business people, wannabe entrepreneurs and “small and medium enterprises” ([SME] or [SMB]). All of these small companies and small businesses are takeover targets. If a small company is very profitable, then the small company will probably be acquired by the large “retard media” companies they outsource their business communications to (whether Google, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, or perhaps some other not-yet-acquired startups they have outsourced their business communications to) — those companies who are very much “in the know” about the level of business activity happening.
These very large retard media companies are definitely scrutinizing the so-called “big data” small and medium businesses are exchanging across these retard media channels. This isn’t rocket science: Google bought Youtube because they saw how much people used Youtube. Facebook bought Whatsapp because they want this data. Almost every billion-dollar unicorn is moving large amounts of data over channels owned by the biggest retard media companies — and either these companies are acquired early, or they are outright launched by angel investment support from such big media conglomerates… and then promoted to equally illiterate consumers. There are dozens of such retard media startups littering the front pages of the business section of newspapers (and most of these newspapers are also either controlled or owned outright by retard media investors).
No business that is based on the illiteracy of both the owners as well as the consumers of the product or service in question is a business with a future. Either the business will be acquired, or it will fail — end of story.
The only way for businesses and consumers to escape this death spiral is to acquire media literacy skills — to become sufficiently literate themselves… — and thereby to liberate themselves from an otherwise destitute dependency on retard media for a short term bare minimum of life support.
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Tagged big data, business model, dependence, dependency, exploit, exploitation, illiteracy, illiterate, independence, literacy, literate, media conglomerate, media conglomerates, media conglomeration, media literacy, paid media, retard media, small business, small businesses, SMB, SME, startup, startups
Many people believe the foundation of science and scientific thought is observation and objectivity — but I believe they are simply overlooking a lot of data … and in particular the much more fundamental way humans (and probably most life) think and also about how they tend to naturally make decisions.
Humans do not normally observe data objectively. On the contrary, they usually orient their thinking towards what other humans think. As I mentioned in my previous post, this may very well have its “roots” in something like instinctive or innate behavior. Yet beyond such reflexive attention to the affections of others, humans also orient much of their rational thinking and base their notion of rationality on such herd thinking (also known as “herd mentality”).
This is not simply a matter of “pre-modern” thinking before the age of science. While few people today are aware of the fact that Galileo died as a heretic, even fewer are aware that much of what people consider to be “rationality” is also based on the same kind of herd mentality by which observations are deemed as valid or invalid, credible or incredible, accepted dogma or heretical nonsense.
Democracy and the idea of “majority rule” are prime examples of this phenomenon. Likewise statements like “9 out of 10 experts agree” seem to be a convincing argument that you, too, ought to agree. To establish something as a rock-solid fact, there is nothing nearly as effective as widespread agreement regarding that fact.
It was only a little over 100 years ago, that the psychologist Gustave Le Bon pioneered the examination of herds and mob mentality. Many of his insights became central to the fields first known as “propaganda”, later “public relations”, marketing and advertising. Basically, the idea in each arena was to use some sort of trick to convince people that the vast majority of people believed some proposition — such as that a food or beverage tastes good, or that some other product or service is desirable.
Since such tricks undermine what our natural instincts and inclinations lead us to believe what might be reliable information, the increasing influx of misinformation will increasingly make it harder for us to discern good from bad information sources. This problem is further exacerbated by policies which limit the wider public’s ability to learn basic skills such as literacy, numeracy, etc.
Today, it is more important than ever to understand how (for want of a better term) our “collective subjectivity” can be used to separate the wheat from the chaff — firstly, whether that can even be practically attained at all; and secondly, how we can best cultivate such capabilities without becoming misguided by attempts to trick us into being fooled by deceitful attempts to dupe the masses into becoming a mob of suckers.
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Tagged advertising, collective subjectivity, marketing, objectivity, observation, propaganda, public relations, rational, rationality, reason, reasoning, science, scientific, subjectivity
The evolution of homo sapiens is a continuing story, and so far the development has been not only towards rational thought, but also towards technology for sharing ideas.
Among these technologies is language, and since just a few thousand years ago: Written language. Before written language was developed, humans devised several tricks to be able to keep permanent records. These are still effective mnemonic tools, but since the advent of writing, permanent records have become increasing widespread. Ironically, written records may actually pose a threat to homo sapiens — more on that in a moment.
First, let me give a brief description of the role written records play in human civilization today. Although in many cases written records are created to document temporary facts (think, for example, of the receipt a cashier hands you when you have made a purchase), the far more significant use of writing is to codify universal laws — whether that is a government’s rules of law, or the natural laws that have been tested time and again by observation, then to be approved as “scientific theory” (and ultimately to be turned into quasi-indisputable universal law).
Such universals play a very significant role in society. Being virtually indisputable, they become “facts of life”, “common sense” and similar concepts. They become as fixed as the firmament, and they are handed down from one generation to the next with the same sense of certainty as that a mother will care for her newborn child. These concepts are unwavering — and I feel they are very similar to what C.G. Jung referred to as “archetypes”. In contrast to Jung, however, I feel they are not coded into the human psyche — rather: they are written into the human record. As such, they are particularly human attributes (because I feel only humans have developed such advanced permanent record-keeping technologies).
Such unwavering, permanent universal laws are basically uncontestable — to deny their validity is to step outside of the norms that are part and parcel of living within a civilized community. The risk I alluded to before is that there does not seem to be a straightforward way to deal with revising these laws (in case they should for some odd reason no longer remain valid). Although there have been successful “scientific revolutions” in the past, there is no guarantee that this will remain so forever (consider, for example, the heated debates over the concept of “global warming” or the question of whether some resources are “renewable” or not).
Scientific laws give rise to a notion referred to as “objectivity” — in a future post, I wish to explain how this idea of “objective” facts is actually a rather quirky notion (and how it is the exception to the rule, rather than being anything normal).
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Tagged archetype, archetypes, fact, facts, law, laws, permanent, record, records, science, scientific, temporary, theories, theory, universal, universals, writing, written language